This month’s featured artist, Augusto BM, is a Brazilian illustrator with a talent for creating entire aesthetic universes with only a pen and paper, or through the otherworldly collages that compose his Instagram stories. Influenced by the art of ancient civilizations, which he discovered while studying History, Augusto’s artwork explores the relationship between nature and humankind, through simple black lines that spread over prints, items of clothing and other merchandise, or even tattooed on people’s skin. We discussed consumerism, ecology, and 90’s movies.
Who are you?
My name is Augusto BM. I don’t know exactly how I became an artist; I think I just felt art in my soul since I was a child. I know that every child likes to draw, but it was different for me, drawing always had a special meaning. It always felt like breathing to me. I have had so many moments when I thought : yeah, I think I’m an artist. I feel that when I see my lines spread across the world as prints, blouses, mugs, cards, and especially as tattoos. Instagram makes me feel closer to people in so many parts of the world.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
It’s difficult to describe art, but I see my artwork as minimalist most of the time, although sometimes it can be more detailed. Through my lines I create a particular world that is so hard to understand even to me… It is full of birds, fruits, mermaids, angels flying in the sky. People can appear in my artworks, people that are free, curvy, they’re naked and dancing in the air. This world I’ve created has a specific time setting too, it is not a specific civilization of the past, but it feels ancient. I think it is better to feel it and see it than to describe it.
How did you find it? How has it evolved since you began making art?
I’m a fan of simplicity, my lines express what I feel, as well as more important things, so my style has this simple vibration. When I started I tried several materials but the pen always seemed to me a simple instrument. We all use pens in our daily lives, a pen is something common to everybody, so that’s what I chose to draw my lines.
Have you ever thought of experimenting with other art forms?
Poetry, I used to write poetry in the past.
Who / what inspires you to create?
My inspiration can come from a leaf, or from fashion photography. It comes from nature, the wind, plants, the sea, but human creativity inspires me a lot too. A movie, a book, a photograph can inspire me. The connection between humans, the imagination, time, and nature is the key. I feel like my sensibility is floating between my life experiences and a universe of inspirations.
What is your creative process?
It’s not really a process, it’s a madness. Sometimes things just appear in my mind, sometimes they reveal themselves on paper. I only use a pen and paper, that’s all. I just sit at a table and draw. Sometimes a piece doesn’t seem good enough to me at first, but it gets better after a few attempts.
Let’s talk about consuming art instead of making it. What are some of your latest favorites?
I like classics but I like to discover new things too. I’m currently rewatching a lot of 90’s movies like Stealing Beauty by Bernardo Bertolucci (1996), The House of the Spirits (1993), or Antonia’s Line (1995). I’m also curious about music, I’ve been listening to Alt-J lately.
Your work explores the relationship between humans and nature. What are your thoughts on that relationship in today’s ecological context? How do you think art can help?
I think my artwork is connected to ecological awareness. Our world is in danger, and if we don’t listen to what nature is telling us through environmental catastrophes or to the warnings of ecologists, humankind will disappear. Respecting nature has a positive influence over our mental and physical health. Being connected to nature brings us closer to the gods. Art can help create that connection between our souls and nature. My artwork expresses the fact that we are part of nature.
Minimalist artwork like yours is currently having a lot of success. What do you think of that return to simplicity?
We live in a world of excess : an excess of things, an excess of objects,… The concept of minimalism is rising as a solution, as a reassurance. We don’t need a full wardrobe. We don’t need plastic. We don’t need to own thousands of objects. We need to consume less and feed our souls with art, with nature.
Your work is strongly influenced by the aesthetics of antiquity. What are some of the art, myths, or images of that period that have influenced you the most?
Yes, I think we have a lot to learn from the ancients. I think that antiquity was a simpler time, the ancients were more free, more human. I think paganism or the ancient gods reveal a lot about humanity, about the human experience : they hate, they love, they make love. I was academically trained as a historian. What I want to explain is that in my illustrations I create a particular world, an ancient world with a specific time setting and magic figures. Some of my favorite figures include Cupid, Psyche, and Venus – all classical myths in general.
What do you want people to feel through your work?
I want people to feel whatever they want. Maybe peace, it’s a good thing to feel.
What is a question you wish I had asked you?
What art represents in my life, I think. I always say that art is like breathing to me!
Augusto BM is an artist born in Natal, in the Northeast of Brazil. Influenced by his minimalist lifestyle, Augusto’s organic shapes connect with nature and simplicity. His work creatively captures body shapes, fruits, birds, and other elements found in our natural environment. More of his work can be viewed on his Instagram page.